question: If you are only able to have one of the following, which would you prefer to have as a gift from your favorite business?

A. A ten to twenty percent "loyalty" discount?


B. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you can constantly rely on them for their high level of service, no matter when or where you need it and that they will bend over backwards to take care of you.

the trouble with having both

I'm afraid to tell you that you cannot have both. Even if you DO get both, you will not have them for a very long time.

Here's why:

Let's say business owner Bob does all the back breaking, hoop jumping aerobics required to TRULY take care of his clients (ie. he's providing them with gift B). In turn, he becomes very popular, because, let's face it, there's not a whole lot of businesses out there that run like that these days, so naturally, clients flock to Bob.

Time goes by and he builds a long loyal list of clients. They use him all the time to do whatever it is that Bob does so well for them. After a while, though, something changes. The clients begin to feel that, although Bob's service is consistently superb, they've spent an awful lot of money with him.. Shouldn't he take that into consideration on the next invoice? After all, he's clearly making money hand over fist for what he does, would a discount really be asking that much for the loyalty?

So Bob obliges. He agrees - his clients have been good to him - he should reciprocate. He starts a new client loyalty program - a discount system designed to reward his most frequent customers with lower pricing. But now Bob is confronted with a decision - his "regulars" are getting discounts, but his new clients are paying the far more profitable going rate. As a small business with limited resources, Bob has to tend to two types of clients now, one pool of which pays less.

Who do you think Bob will be more loyal to now?

"Consistently excellent service that can be relied on time and time again, in and of itself, is the best way for a business to show its long time clients it appreciates them."

Why? If Bob is giving everyone that's loyal to his business these discounts, he will be unable to sustain the level of service that earned him that loyalty in the first place!

So the next time you're thinking about asking your favorite small business for a discount because your loyal to them, ask yourself, "why am I loyal to these guys in the first place?".

I can guarantee you that what you're already getting is worth far more than that discount.

- Brent